Right to Build Taskforce Director Joins Custom Build Homes

Mario Wolf; Founding Director of the Right to Build Task Force and influential expert in the UK custom and self-build sector has joined the Custom Build Homes’ senior management team.

The appointment will strengthen the custom build specialists’ strategy to focus on growth of delivery within the sector.

Custom Build Homes welcomes Mario Wolf as its new Director of Planning & Strategic Engagement. Mario joins the company after a highly accomplished career in the Civil Service and the planning and development sector. He is a Corporate Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and prior to working in Government enjoyed an extensive career in Planning across the globe in both private and public sector roles.

In the Civil Service, Mario led the introduction and implementation of a range of housing programmes and planning reforms spanning almost 20 years. His final two years as a Civil Servant was on secondment to the National Custom and Self-Build Association (NaCSBA) as Director of The Right to Build Taskforce; where he established a specialist group of industry experts focused on supporting Local Planning Authorities implement their new legal obligations to provide serviced plots for custom build housing and supporting builders and landowners to bring forward projects at scale.

Mario’s leadership of the Taskforce proved to be testament to his attitude, vigour and belief that custom build housing must be scaled in the UK to provide the much-needed diversification and additionality required to reduce the housing deficit and affordability crisis. He and his team of experts provided much needed hands-on advice on multiple projects including; the design of Local Authority Planning policies to bring forward allocations of plots on volume housebuilder sites and the use of effective Design Codes and Plot Passports to help streamline the Reserved Matters Application Process for Local Authority Planning Teams.

Throughout his time as Director of the Taskforce he, alongside his colleague Bryony Harrington (Now Head of the Taskforce), oversaw a programme of capacity-building events and workshops in the form of ‘Right to Build Expos’ across England and Scotland which enabled over 100 Local Planning Authorities to engage with custom build housing first hand and gain the valuable insight and education they needed to accelerate delivery of new permitted sites.

Mario spent more than 15 years at the Department for Communities Local Government (DCLG), now known as Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), as a senior policy advisor in both the Housing and Planning Directorates. He was instrumental in working closely with Ministers and industry to introduce a radical programme of support measures for self-build and custom housebuilding. He also held posts in the Government Offices for the South East and London and worked in local government and the private sector as a planning consultant. He brings considerable international experience to our sector and is also a custom builder himself.

His new role as Director of Planning & Strategic Engagement at Custom Build Homes will see him join the company’s Senior Management Team and will be focused on developing and scaling it’s new Planning function in line with Custom Build Homes’ vision to change the narrative of custom build housing from conversation to delivery of homes on the back of positive steps taken by industry and Government by way of new legislation and change in market conditions and consumer understanding.

Custom Build Homes’ Director, Tom Connor described the significance of Mario’s introduction to Custom Build Homes, as it enters a new phase of growth. He said:

“As soon as I was made aware of Mario’s interest in joining Custom Build Homes, I was immediately excited.

“His experience and knowledge of the custom build sector in the UK is second to none, and he made it clear from the outset that he was equally excited to work with our dynamic team to realise custom build delivery at scale.

“The decision to welcome Mario to the company was very easy,” he added.

Mario will take up this new role at Custom Build Homes from March 1, 2020. Mario said:

“I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to join Custom Build Homes at such a key point in time.

“The custom build housing sector in this country is on the verge of an imminent explosion in activity as more land is coming forward through local plans than ever before and landowners identify new ways to build much needed new housing.

“Custom Build Homes is well-positioned to lead the way in unlocking this significant market potential; to radically scale-up the delivery of serviced building plots and enable many more people to build their own homes in line with the shared ambition between the Government and industry.”